The depth of Tibetan despair

Tom Lasseter of McClatchy:

“China in our eyes is not fair or peaceful,” said the monk, a man in his early 40s who, like every ethnic Tibetan interviewed for this story, did so on the condition that he not be named and that certain details be withheld, for fear of getting dragged off by police. “We are suffering a lot in our hearts, and when we can no longer bear it we burn ourselves to death.”

The father first wanted it made clear that he would not “take legal responsibility” for his words, and then said, “The Chinese government issues messages that these things are happening because of foreign plots, but of course the people lighting themselves on fire are local people …”

The father paused and looked at the small stove in front of him, which was heating the room with burning stacks of yak dung.

The younger brother, in his early 20s and with plans to move to a bigger city, finished the sentence with an assertion that no one contradicted.

“The people lighting themselves on fire do it because they are suffering … or because one of their family members has been killed by the government and they are now filled with hatred,” he said. “They are doing these things because they want to express their pain and their hardship.”

The McClatchy article is a massive indictment of the Chinese government’s occupation of Tibet, as if the 23 self-immolations in the last year weren’t indictment enough.

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